Clean Hydrogen: No Fracking – AHA! Climate Discovery for October of 2023

October 14, 2023 – After participating in the Reuters’ 2023 Hydrogen North America Conference to introduce the WIT Technology for Super Green Hydrogen last week, Rob and I came away with a new motto: “Do Not Frack Water to Release Hydrogen”. Hydrogen fracking as we call it, has similarities to hydraulic fracking used in the oil and gas fields by applying high-energy pressure and other materials such as tungsten balls to crack and keep open fractures in the rock formation to allow drilling.  Sadly, the technology for releasing hydrogen from either fossil fuels or water has not advanced for decades. It basically involves 1940’s high-energy electrolyzers and high-temperature steam technologies to frack hydrogen (or break the molecular bonds). Practically all of today’s U.S. hydrogen production is currently “dirty”. According to a Reuters’ article, dated June 7, 2023 … “99% of U.S. hydrogen production of more than 10 million metric tons (MT) is from fossil fuels, with 95% from natural gas by steam methane reforming (SMR) and 4% from partial oxidation of natural gas via coal gasification”. The 1% balance comes from electrolysis of water.

The WIT Technology using a powerful magnetic field to make DiTetra Gas does not “frack hydrogen” from water. Instead there is no electrolysis stealing tremendous power from the national grid; no release of either carbon dioxide or NOx pollutants; only 10% of the power used to make DiTetra Gas compared to using an electrolyzer; and DiTetra Gas can be produced using on-site solar, wind, hydro or another alternative energy source (not relying on the national energy grid). It pushes all of the federal “Green Tier” buttons for what we call “Super Green Hydrogen”.

Federal Incentives for Clean Hydrogen

There is definitely a frenzy race to compete for the billions of federal turbofunding and tax credits promised for the clean hydrogen industry. The conference attendees with their hydrogen projects on hold were hoping for some announcement when the funds will be released. They have been waiting since last April with increasing interest rates in the interim. The main holdup is the U.S. Treasury/IRS is trying to finalize how the tax credits will work.

But the federal expectations for clean hydrogen are huge for the incubator “clean hydrogen” industry, and will require new technology advancements to fulfill the non-emissions, energy independent (not using the national energy grid) requirements for federal subsidies. Plus hydrogen being the smallest molecule causes challenges in building leak-free storage, distribution pipelines, long-haul trucks, and refueling stations, all required by the federal government to become decarbonized. Liquifying also adds to the cost of hydrogen. Panelists at the conference were indicating that there will be a premium cost for clean hydrogen even with the federal subsidies and maybe once the infrastructure loans are paid, the cost may become more competitive with other energy sources.

Fracking Hydrogen with Electrolyzers

Europe is currently building massive hydrogen hubs. A project manager who served on a panel during the conference confessed that her company’s biggest challenge is the performance of the electrolyzers in not meeting manufacturers’ assurances. When “fracking” with an industrial electrolyzer, the molecular bonds are broken and single nascent oxygen can corrode the plates. Additionally, the high-heat needed to operate the electrolyzer wear out parts and the lifetime of the both stacks and the electrolyzer itself will likely need to be either rebuilt or replaced within less than two years. I talked with another woman at the conference who sales high-powered electrolyzers. She admitted that there is a huge backlog of orders for electrolyzers and replacement parts in her business.

Another concern is that electrolyzers will diminish the supply of renewable energy in the U.S or creating a “green energy gap”. As the Reuters’ article states … “For all that hydrogen to be green, the extra power must be generated from emission-free sources, including wind, solar, nuclear, and hydro. The timing of when that extra capacity should be installed is at the center of a growing battle between those that wish to immediately jump on the inflation act subsidies and start producing discounted hydrogen and those that fear the national grid needs to be reinforced before the electrolyzers start running”. As Rob Gourley’s said several times during the conference … “We cannot jump off the cliff until we grow feathers to avoid crashing into the rocks below”.

Growing the Clean Hydrogen Market

I attended the “Women in Hydrogen” breakfast one of the mornings during the conference. There were about 50 attendees. We were asked who had hydrogen to sell and only three of us raised their hands. When the moderator asked who needed to buy hydrogen, no one raised their hands.

Our Available Solution for Super Green Hydrogen

When compared to electrolyzer fracking, DiTetra Gas is economical to produce; low-heat from its cells (operating approximately ten degrees F above ambient temperature) that extends the life of the WIT Machines; significantly lower power usage of emission-free electricity (from a renewable source); and no emissions of NOx, carbon dioxide or nascent oxygen. It is the new and needed innovation to make the hydrogen energy sector successful while complying with the federal requirements for clean hydrogen … with more affordable hydrogen for the consumer that will generate a viable market. Please come and talk with us if you have a “Green Tier” clean hydrogen project in mind.

On October 11 and 12 of 2023, WIT International (Dana and Rob Gourley) was one of the sponsors of the Hydrogen North America 2023 conference, held in Houston, TX.

All of the 2023 “Ahh! Climate” Series can be found here.

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